Ok. I’m going to do something exciting and terrifying today. We’re going to talk about money, specifically wedding budgets. I know! I’ve been avoiding the topic of real life wedding budgets with actual numbers for, ohhhh, two and a half years now. But I got this comment on Monday, after I said that while APW-ers could talk about parenting and sex without batting an eye or raising a voice, but we’d never been able to discuss wedding budgets calmly:
I know what you mean… the topic of money comes up and everybody starts feeling bad about themselves for one reason or another… but, I wish there was a way for us to become good enough listeners to have discussions about money without freaking out because I know that for me, money was the biggest stressor when planning our wedding. I think that one of the reasons I was so stressed was that I felt completely in the dark. The only people who talked about money and weddings online were people who were spending SO MUCH MONEY and people who were devoted to spending nothing at all. I feel like the majority of us, folks who aren’t millionaires, but do plan to spend more dough on our wedding than we’ve spent on almost anything before (whether that amount is 5k or 50k) were left to figure it all out for ourselves.
Reading the discussions in APW comment threads has really helped me to step out of my own shoes and see lots of different things from other people’s perspectives and I wonder if we’re not incapable of doing the same thing when it comes to money (although I know how hard that would be). I know it would have helped me.
And, well, I just couldn’t not take on the challenge. I love a challenge. It’s a character flaw.
So this is how we’re going to do this. We’re going to lay out cold, hard wedding numbers…. anonymously. You don’t have to be anonymous, but I’d encourage you to be, and here is why: People are more honest about money when they are anonymous. When you’re anonymous, you tend to not try to brag about how much you spent, or how little you spent, or how smartly you spent. And that kind of bragging and reverse bragging is what takes wedding budget conversations down. Plus, when no one knows who you are, you’re less likely to get in a fight with someone about how bad you think their spending choices were. As if you should be judging anyway, achem.
So. Anonmously, I’d invite you to leave a comment saying:
- What you spent on your wedding.
- Where you live (Big city? Small town? Expensive area? Affordable area?) Because oh, boy does that change your budget numbers.
- How big your wedding was.
- How that budget roughly broke down (How much was food? Venue? Dress?)
- What your biggest challenge was.
- How you feel about your budget post-wedding (if you are post wedding. If your not post wedding, you might want to sit this one out and just read the comments. It’s hard to tell what the h*ll is going to happen to our budget and what you’ll learn from it mid-planning. Besides, if you pat yourself on the back too early, you’re just inviting disaster, trust me. Ack.)
If you’re being anonymous and you have a gravitar (the little picture of yourself), don’t use your gravitar email address, use another one or a fake one, or your picture will pop up. Also, don’t put in your URL. Though, if you want to use a name that’s not your regular handle, go for it.
No judging other peoples choices. No judging your own choices. Try to be as nice to yourself as you are to everyone else. Money stuff is hard, and you deserve a break from beating yourself up, yes?
Annnndddd, let the knowledge sharing begin. I’m scared! And excited!
PS If you haven’t read it, I wrote a post about what I learned about money planning my wedding that might be helpful. I modified it for inclusion in the second edition of Ariel’s Offbeat Bride book (whooo!), but you can read it in it’s full glory here.